When Savannah’s fountains run green, the Azaleas begin to bloom and those darlin’ little Girl Scouts start selling their famous cookies on just about every square, I know that St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner. You can’t miss it. It’s the second largest St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the world and one of my most favorite parades. Running nearly every year for the past 187 years, the parade hosts floats and marching bands from all over the country, but my favorite part is when the honorable men and women of our Armed Forces march through. Seeing those brave soldiers back home always brings the crowd to their feet—and makes the tiny hairs on my arms stand at attention. Women slap on thick layers of red lipstick and run out, planting kisses on the soldier’s cheeks as they march by without missing a step.
But St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah is hardly a one-day affair. No sir, down here we set aside a couple of weeks for some proper Celtic celebratin’. From rugby in the parks and a running race around the squares to family-friendly festivals and revelry on River Street, the city runs the gamut. And I suppose the word has gotten out: this year we expect some 300,000 visitors from around the world to come looking for a taste of Savannah’s St. Paddy’s Day spirit. And I always aim to give them what they came for by offering up an irresistible traditional Irish menu.
There are a couple of traditional dishes that you simply must have on an Irish menu, whether you’re bringing a dish to a parade potluck or you’re enjoying a themed party with some friends and family in the quiet comforts of your home. For me, Corned Beef and Cabbage always tops the list—it’s as important as the turkey is to Thanksgiving. And I have a recipe that’s so simple and quick, you can have an authentic supper ready in no time—30 minutes to be exact!
“Colcannon,” or Irish Potato Salad, is another quick and easy must-have on the table. And y’all have to have a sturdy loaf of Irish Soda Bread to sop up what’s left behind. I also recommend rounding out your supper with my Guinness Chocolate Cake. Now I’m not much of a beer drinker y’all, but the rich brew instantly elevates this cake to Grand Marshall status.
But nothing, nothing, holds a four-leaf clover to my Creamiest Mac and Cheese. It’s like a pot o’ gold at the end of the rainbow—and every bit as rich. And the best part is you don’t have to exhaust yourself chasing some pesky little Leprechaun just to find it. You can make it faster than two shakes of a lamb’s tail and you probably already have all the fixing’s in your pantry.
Good food and celebration go hand-in-hand, but I’ve never believed in exhausting yourself in the kitchen while your guests feast in the next room. The festive food I’m sharing with y’all is not only delicious, it’ll leave you ample time to search for shamrocks and throw back some green beer or green grits—whatever suits your fancy. Erin Go Bragh, y’all!